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O’Neill expressed the ULMWP’s membership is not an issue to PNG

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The MSG Chair, Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare and the PNG Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill – Supplied

Jayapura, Jubi – The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Chair, Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands has described his dialogue with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill as ‘very fruitful.’

The MSG Chair met with Hon O’Neill in the PNG Capital, Port Moresby yesterday, concluding his second and final round of consultations with MSG leaders since taking up the chairmanship of the Melanesian sub-regional grouping in June 2015.

The key issues of discussion included the following:

• MSG Special Leaders’ Summit;
• Outcome of the Meeting of the MSG sub-committee on Legal and Institutional Issues {SCLII) in Port Vila in December 2016. SCLII is the MSG sub-committee that makes recommendations to the MSG Governing Bodies- Senior Officials Meeting, Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Leaders’ Summit;
• West Papua;
• MSG Free Trade Agreement;
• MSG Labour Mobility, Independent Review of the MSG Secretariat; and
• MSG Chairmanship Handover from Solomon Islands to Papua New Guinea.

Speaking after his meeting with Prime Minister O’Neill, the MSG Chair said “I had a very fruitful meeting with the PNG Prime Minister on the agendas of discussion as I also had with Prime Minister Charlot Salwai of Vanuatu, Victor Tutugoro of the FLNKS and Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji earlier on in February.”

On the issue of Special Leaders’ Summit, the MSG Chair said he expressed regret over his inability to convene any Special Leaders’ Summit in December 2016 due to the non-availability of colleague leaders.

He said a Special Leaders’ Summit was supposed to be held to approve the recommendations from various bodies of MSG including SCLII.

However, the MSG Chair said the various bodies of the MSG- SCLII and Senior Officials Meeting (SOM)- did meet and made a number of recommendations to the Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) for submission to the Leaders’ Summit for final approval.
He said the MSG Capitals’ visit was therefore important to consult with colleague leaders on various recommendations from the various MSG Bodies for final approval

“I have met with both Prime Minister Charlot Salwai of Vanuatu and Victor Tutugoro of the FLNKS in Port Vila and Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji in Suva as part of this second and final round of consultations earlier in February this year. I was supposed to travel on to Port Moresby to meet with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill but had to postpone the Port Moresby leg of the trip because the PNG Parliament was in session.

“I am now pleased that I finally met with Prime Minister O’Neill yesterday and my meeting with the PNG Prime Minister like my previous meetings with my other colleague leaders was very fruitful.”

On the Outcome of the Meeting of SCLII in Port Vila in September last year, the MSG Chair said he informed Prime Minister O’Neill that the meeting endorsed the proposed Revised MSG Membership Guidelines and was brought to the attention of the SOM and FMM in their meeting which immediately followed the SCLII meeting and were endorsed by the Governing Bodies in December 2016.

He said he informed the PNG Prime Minister that Prime Minister Salwai, FLNKS Spokesman, Mr Tutugoro and Prime Minister Bainimarama have all agreed in principle to the Revised MSG Membership Guidelines and during his consultations with them.

The revised guidelines provide a very transparent process for Leaders to deliberate on an application for membership whereby they enhance and protect the decision-making process and respect the reporting structure of the MSG at the Summit level as stipulated under Articles 7 (1) and (2) of the MSG Agreement.

The MSG Chair said Prime Minister O’Neill in turn expressed support for the Revised MSG Membership Guidelines and as such, Leaders will meet and formally approve them at the next MSG Leaders’ Summit.

On the issue of West Papua, the MSG Chair said he told Prime Minister O’Neill that the United Liberation Movement of West Papua’s (ULMWP’s) application for membership of the MSG will be dealt with under the Revised MSG Membership Criteria.

He said Prime Minister O’Neill expressed the ULMWP’s membership of the MSG is not an issue to PNG but rather the ULMWP proving that it is a united body that represents the collective views of the people of West Papua just as the FLNKS is evidently a united body representing the collective views of the Kanaks of New Caledonia.

The MSG Chair said the PNG Prime Minister further stated that any discussion on the issue of sovereignty should be taken up appropriately with the United Nations Decolonisation Committee (C24) in New York and the Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

On the issue of MSG Free Trade Agreement, the MSG Chair said Prime Minister O’Neill stated that PNG will be signing up the agreement after sorting out some issues of concern with Fiji.

On the issue of MSG Labour Mobility, the MSG Chair said Prime Minister O’Neill has expressed desire to see this opened up so that Melanesians from other Melanesian countries do not have to apply for work permit to work in PNG and vice versa.

On the issue of Independent Review of the MSG Secretariat, the MSG Chair told Prime Minister O’Neill that the purpose of the review, which started since January pursuant to the Governing Body decision in December for the review to be undertaken. Its bold objective is to ensure a wholly functional, resilient and robust secretariat that delivers on the mandates of leaders.

He said the PNG Prime Minister conveyed PNG’s firm support for the review and offered assistance to the secretariat to ensure the reform is undertaken smoothly and swiftly.

On the issue of MSG Chairmanship Handover, the MSG Chair said he had sought the view of Prime Minister O’Neill as to when should Solomon Islands hand over the chairmanship to PNG this year and the PNG Prime Minister said Solomon Islands should hold on to the position until after the PNG General Elections in June.

The MSG Chair and his delegation will return to Honiara tomorrow, Friday 17th March. (*)

Analysis

Activists fear Indian proposal for coal reserves in Indonesian-ruled Papua

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Forest clearance and plantation development in PT Megakarya Jaya Raya (PT MJR) palm oil concession in Papua. The region is home to the world’s third-largest rainforest, but is facing intense pressure due to the logging, palm oil and mining industries. Image: Ulet Infansasti/Greenpeace

By Febriana Firdaus in Jakarta

As it seeks to diversify its sources of fuel, India is looking to get in on the ground floor of coal mining in previously unexploited deposits in Indonesian-ruled Papua.

In exchange for technical support and financing for geological surveys, officials say India is pushing for special privileges, including no-bid contracts on any resulting concessions a prospect that could run foul of Indonesia’s anti-corruption laws.

The details of an Indian mining project in Papua are still being negotiated, but Indonesia’s energy ministry welcomes the prospect as part of a greater drive to explore energy resources in the country’s easternmost provinces.

In future, the ministry hopes mining for coking coal will support the domestic steel industry, while also bringing economic benefits to locals.

Rights activists, however, fear the launch of a new mining industry could deepen tensions in a region where existing extractive projects have damaged the environment and inflamed a long-running armed conflict.

Indonesia’s new coal frontier

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Jakarta last month, joint efforts to extract and process Indonesia’s fossil fuels, including coal, were on the agenda.

India’s interest in investing in a new coking coal mining concession in Papua can be traced to 2017, when officials from the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR), both Indian government institutes, met with Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in Jakarta.

The bilateral plan was announced by then-ministry spokesman Sujatmiko after the first India Indonesia Energy Forum held in Jakarta in April 2017. “The focus is on new territories in Papua,” he said.

To follow up, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources sent a team to India in early May. The current energy ministry spokesman, Agung Pribadi, who was part of the delegation, told Mongabay that officials from state-owned energy giant Pertamina, major coal miner PT Adaro Energy, and state-owned electricity firm PLN also joined the meeting.

The Indonesian team presented research outlining the potential for mining high-caloric content coal in West Papua province, and lower-caloric coal in Papua province.

According to the team’s report, only 9.3 million tons of reserves have so far been identified. By contrast, Indonesia as a whole expects to export 371 million tons of coal this year. However, the true extent of coal deposits could be larger, said Rita Susilawati, who prepared the report presented during the meeting and is head of coal at the ministry’s Mineral, Coal and Geothermal Resources Centre. “Some areas in Papua are hard to reach due to the lack of infrastructure. We were unable to continue the research,” she explained.

During the visit, Indian and Indonesian officials discussed conducting a geological survey in Papua, Agung said. India would finance the survey using its national budget. With Indonesian President Joko Widodo prioritising infrastructure investment, the energy ministry has few resources to conduct such surveys.

Expected privileges

Indonesia also anticipates benefiting and learning from India’s experience in processing coking coal.

In exchange, India expected privileges from the Indonesian government, including the right to secure the project without a bidding process, Agung said.

Indonesia denied the request, and the talks were put on hold. Approving it would have been too risky, Agung said, since the bidding process is regulated in Indonesia. “We recommend they follow the bidding process or cooperate with a state-owned enterprise,” Agung said.

India’s ministry of coal did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Energy and mining law expert Bisman Bakhtiar said there was still a chance India could get the rights to develop any resulting coal concessions without having to go through an open bidding process. “It can proceed under the G-to-G (government-to-government) scheme by signing a bilateral agreement,” he said.

This form of agreement would supersede the ministerial regulations requiring competitive bidding, Bisman explained, although he said any such agreements should emphasise that any projects must be carried out according to local laws.

There is precedent in Indonesia for G-to-G schemes bypassing the open bidding process, Bisman said. For example, multiple projects have been carried out on the basis of cooperation agreements with the World Bank and Australia. In another instance, Indonesian media mogul Surya Paloh imported crude oil from Angola via a bilateral cooperation agreement with Angola’s state-owned oil company Sonangol.

Draft law

A draft law currently being discussed in the House of Representatives could also smooth the path for India. It says that if there is agreement between Indonesia and a foreign government to conduct geological studies, the country involved will get priority for the contract.

However, this would still require the country to meet market prices. “We called it ‘right to match.’ If there are other parties who offer lower prices, then they should follow that price,” Bisman said.

Another option would be for India to appoint one of its local companies to work with Indonesian private sector giant Adaro or state-owned coal miner PT Bukit Asam. Such a deal could be conducted as a business-to-business (B-to-B) agreement, and would be legal according to Indonesia’s Energy Law.

Or, Indonesia could assign a state-owned firm like Bukit Asam to work with India based on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by both countries.

“But all these options have a potential risk,” Agung said. “They can be categorised as collusion by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).” He said a conventional bidding process should be prioritised.

Bisman said India needed to consider other risks, such as the social and political situation in Papua. The region is home to an armed pro-independence movement and has faced decades of conflict around the world’s largest and most profitable gold and copper mine, Grasberg, owned by US-based Freeport McMoRan.

‘Land grab’

Despite the presence of the mine, Papua remains Indonesia’s poorest province, with some of the worst literacy and infant mortality rates in Asia. Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), a state-funded body, has characterised Freeport’s concession as a “land grab,” for which the original stewards of the land, the Amungme and Kamoro indigenous people, were never properly consulted or compensated.

The Indonesian energy ministry’s own research says that any project must take into account the impact on Papua’s indigenous peoples, and must factor in specific local concepts of land ownership, leadership and livelihood.

Franky Samperante, executive director of rights advocacy group Yayasan Pusaka, said he was worried about the plan. “It is way too risky,” he said, pointing to the social and environmental fallout of the Grasberg mine.

“There should be communication between the mining company and indigenous Papuans,” he said, warning Jakarta to carefully calculate the social, environmental and national security impacts.

Local indigenous people need to be meaningfully involved in the decision-making process, he said, especially since the mining would occur in and near forests where indigenous people live and gather and hunt their food. (*)

 

Source: asiapacificreport.nz

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Eliezer Awom passed away, West Papuans drawn in sorrow

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Eliezer Awom. – Jubi/Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – The passing of Eliezer Awom when on the way from Bintuni to Kaimana on Friday (15/6/2018) has left deep sorrow to the land and people of West Papua, in particular, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

ULMPWP Spokesperson Jacob Rumbiak said the ULMWP express their condolences to the family and the people of West Papua. “His body arrived at his house in Manokwari on 16 June 2018. Most of his children and grandchildren departed from Papua New Guinea and already arrived in Jayapura, except his two children who are still on the way from PNG,” Rumbiak told Jubi on Sunday (17/6/2018).

Eliezer Awom was born on 4 July 1948 in Inasi Village of Numfor Island. His late education was the junior high school before he went to Mobile Brigade training at Deplat Lido Cigombong Bogor, West Java on 29 November 1965.

“His career in Indonesian Military began from 1965 – 1971 to serve at Mobile Brigade Headquarter in Kelapa 2 Jakarta. In 1971, he assigned to Regiment 12 West Irian (Papua), Vocational School of Battalion M Jayapura,” added Rumbiak.

Based on Decree No.17 IRJA Sprint/36/II/1982 issued by Papua Police Chief, continued Rumbiak, he was appointed as the sniper course instructor for Brimobdak Irja from 1981 to 1983. In 1984, he resigned from the Indonesian Army to join the West Papua National Liberation Army/Free Papua Movement (TPN-PN/OPM).

“He served as the Commander of the West Papua National Liberation Army from 1984 to 1988. In 1989, he was shot and arrested by the Indonesian Army and underwent his life sentence in Indonesian Military Detention in Wamena before transferred to Kalisosok Detention Class I in Surabaya, East Java,” said Rumbiak.

Rumbiak further explained that in 2000, the Indonesian Government released him along with other West Papuan political prisoners. From 2002-2018, he served as the Chairman of West Papuan Ex-political Prisoners. “In 2002, he and the late John Simon Mambor represented the West Papuan Ex-political Prisoners as a member of the Papua Presidium Council in the Congress of Papuan People II. Further, in 2011, KRP III declared the Federal State of West Papua Republic (NFRPB) which he was appointed as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces cum the Minister of Defense until the end of his life.

“On 27 November – 6 December 2014, the name Eliezer Awom was noticed in the list of other greatest West Papuans to declare Saralana Declaration that born the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). For his tireless dedication, Mr Awom deserves the Best Guerrilla Star Award along with other heroes who have fought for the independence of West Papua,” he said.

Meanwhile, ULMWP Domestic Affair Working Team Markus Haluk said on Sunday, 17 June 2018, Awom’s brother and oldest son departed to Manokwari to decide whether the funeral would conduct in Manokwari or Jayapura.

“As we all know that the late Mr Awom has devoted his entire life for the independence and political sovereignty of the West Papuans. He became a role model and central figure to all of us. He was a true nationalist and great warrior of the Papuan people. Therefore let us pay him a tribute to conduct three days of national grief upon his funeral,” said Haluk. (*)

 

Reporter: Abeth You

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Papua’s legislator suspects an intrigue behind foreigners’ deportation

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Papua’s Legislator John Gobai – Jubi / Doc

Nabire, Jubi – Papua’s Legislator John Gobai suspects an intrigue behind deportation of foreigners in Nabire.

The statement followed the arrest of twelve foreign workers by Timika Immigration Authority at the bank of Musairo River, where located in the mining area of PT. Pacific Mining Jaya (PMJ).

According to Gobai, he has raised the issue about foreign workers in Nabire to the Papua Police but no prompt response. Papua Provincial Government gave a permit to PT. PMJ to take a mining sample, but the company conducts a gold mining operation.

Jubi has tried to contact the Head of Immigration Office of Tembagapura, Jesaja Samuel Enock, but no answer from the immigration authority until this news written. Based on the information obtained by Jubi, there are currently 22 foreigners in Nabire. (*)

 

Reporter: Titus Ruban

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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